This is a campaign poster found plastered on a wall on the side of the road somewhere in Bacolod. It shows Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, the current frontrunner for president in the Philippines election, with Andal Ampatuan Jr., perpetrator of the worst election massacre in the history of the Philippines. Above their pictures is the phrase “Patay Tayo Dyan!” – “We’re dead meat!” Of course, they are not actually running together, but it is a good campaign trick for his opponents. This is a recent addition to the campaign posters that line every inch of visible space in Bacolod and the rest of the Philippines.
The national election is a great time to be in the Philippines. It happens once every six years, and the country fires up. Tonight is the night before the official election, which means the candidates have their people in the streets handing out money – 500 pesos at a time, or $10 – in exchange for votes. When the candidate cannot buy the voters, he rents a bus, fills it with beer and pork, and sends the people to the beach for a day of drinking, partying, and non-voting. In America, we pay lobbying firms to bribe the politicians for us and use Karl Rove to divide up the electorate. In the Philippines, they cut through the fat and shoot from the hip, if you’re pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down.